When it comes to dealing with the coronavirus, Dr. Anthony Fauci says we’ve come a long way in a short time, but that there’s much more work to be done. That said, he says “aggressive” work is well underway on finding a vaccine – and possible treatments – for the deadly coronavirus.
Testifying via video conference in a Senate hearing on the issue, the NIH veteran also warned about being too hasty with vaccines. Here are the highlights of the hearing:
Opening the hearing, Tennessee Republican Lamar Alexander said all roads back to work and school "run through testing."
Fauci said there's a possibility that "negative consequences with certain vaccines can actually enhance the negative effect of the infection." He noted that progress on current vaccine trials could be known by the late fall or early winter.
CDC Director Robert Redfield testified that the nation's "public health infrastructure" must be rebuilt. He also said the U.S. must remain vigilant about social distancing. He called it “an imperative.”
Fauci warned against reopening too quickly, saying there’s a "real risk that you will trigger an outbreak that you might not be able to "
Fauci was pressed about students returning to campuses in the late summer and early fall. He said it's unrealistic to think that a coronavirus treatment or vaccine will be available, calling it a "bridge too far."
Senator Alexander called U.S. testing capability impressive, but said it's still "not nearly enough."
Washington state Democrat Patty Murray accused Trump of not telling the truth about the ongoing coronavirus threat and slammed the Trump's administration for "delays and missteps" as the crisis has grown.
That was a sentiment echoed by Utah Senator Mitt Romney, who said he finds the U.S. testing record "nothing to celebrate whatsoever."
Kentucky Senator Rand Paul pushed back on the doom saying that more pushing forward seems to best serve the masses. "If we keep kids out of school for another year,” he mused. “What's going to happen is the poor and underprivileged kids who don't have a parent that's able to teach them at home are not going to learn for a full year?”
Fauci demurred saying he is but one voice in a chorus of experts. He later noted that the U.S. is headed in the right direction on the coronavirus. "I am very careful, and hopefully humble, in knowing that I don't know everything about this disease," Fauci added. "And that's why I'm very reserved in making broad predictions.”